An analysis and proposed expansion of the market for theatre for young people in the Western Cape
Thesis (MDram (Drama))--Stellenbosch University, 2008.
Theatre for young people (TYP) is the umbrella term for all theatre created by professional actors for the age group 2 to 25. Within this term there is a form or genre that creates theatre for the ages 13 – 18 with the specific purpose of entertaining these audiences rather than educating them through other forms such as Theatre-In-Education. The aims of this study are to firstly establish to what extent this phenomenon exist within the Western Cape and secondly, if it is found lacking to look at the challenges and opportunities that can arise when introducing this form into the market. There are three reasons why this form should be introduced into the Western Cape’s TYP market. Firstly, theatre is more than just an educational tool for younger audiences and young people deserve the same cultural rights as adults. Secondly, many industries already approach young people as a separate market and theatre needs to adopt the same approach. Lastly, theatre for the age group 13 – 18 is an important part of audience development and should be pursued if theatre wants to expand its market base. To establish what the current strengths and weaknesses of the TYP industry in the Western Cape are, an international frame of reference must be created. The government policy and TYP industry structure of four countries, namely Australia, Denmark, England and The Netherlands are used to create a broad framework from which specific TYP companies and festivals within these countries are discussed. Some general challenges facing TYP in these countries are also highlighted and these elements then form the framework for comparison. The same elements within the TYP industry of the Western Cape – government policy, the TYP industry, companies and festivals – are also discussed and then a comparison between the countries and the Western Cape is made. Based on this it becomes clear that the age group 13 – 18 is grossly neglected when it comes to theatre as form of entertainment as TYP companies in the Western Cape focus mainly on children and educational theatre. From this the challenges that face creators of TYP as entertainment within the larger South African society are highlighted and also made applicable to the Western Cape. The definition of theatre in a multicultural society, the economic situation of the country, the general attitude of society towards theatre, the problematic nature of the youth market and funding structures are identified as possible challenges for TYP in the Western Cape. There are, however, also opportunities for TYP as entertainment within the industry. By using the concept of branding and existing structures in the youth market it is possible to raise the presence of TYP as entertainment form. Youth theatre, educational institutes and the current adult festival circuit of the Western Cape are all possible platforms through which the brand of TYP as entertainment can be introduced and work in symbiosss with the current theatre industry.